The Pen In Jail examines the broader issue of corruption, institutional failure, overbearing tendencies of political leaders, senseless idiosyncrasies, and the tendency to whittle down good governance and destroy institutions.
The Pen In Jail takes Cross River State as a case study and looks at the poverty index, social development indicators, the infrastructure deficit situation, governance style and response and the rationality of the decisions that government is taking, through a historical, contemporary and futuristic prism.
This initial background expantiates a problem that requires good governance to be able to push ahead.
The book further establishes the role of journalism in pushing for good governance and the interest of the poor and how this borders, in juxtaposition, with the journalist question that I raised and got into jail.
It looks at government response, the intolerance, the tendency to prevent citizen participation, lack of transparency, non accommodation of dissent. These are itemized and narrated, not as issues that are evidential but alleged in the face of events that happened.
The book then touchlights the teething issue of white collar projects that are gulping so much public funds and benefitting only a little, while there are social development gaps that are to benefit the masses but are not been attended to and concludes that the path out of this situation is to engage government.
This lays a rational background for why I am engaging government as a journalist.
The Pen In Jail draw examples from other journalists who have faced similar situations then goes down to my journey to prison. Here, my observations are still on the continuation of the corrupt system where institutions have failed. Where correctional centers aren’t correcting anything. Where correctional centers foster corruption and crime and batter inmates and staffers psychologically.
Leaving the prison to the court, the book questions how this gamut impacts on the judiciary. It brings back the account of my trial, the trumped up charges, the drama in court, the interplay, the secret trial, and government interference; to typify the environment in which journalists survive in Nigeria, using Agba Jalingo as an example and Cross River State as a case study.
In coasting home, The Pen In Jail, begins to trace my way out of jail. The events that led to my release from prison. Who did what, that led to my release, then lay a general conclusion on how I see the future of things and what is the hope for the common man and the role of the global community and the citizens themselves, the media and the judiciary as well as the civil societies, to salvage the situation.
The book also includes responses to questionnaires and interviews with some very renown development experts including Professor Wole Soyinka, Professor Chidi Odinkalu, Femi Falana SAN, and the West Africa Director of Ford Foundation, Innocent C. Chukwuma.
It is also loaded with numerous colorful exclusive photographs from police detention and Afokang prison.
Citizen Agba Jalingo.
Author: The Pen In Jail
Citizen Agba Jalingo is the publisher of CrossRiverWatch and writes from Lagos State.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.